Some readers have written me interested in a breakdown of my expenses. I thought it would be an interesting exercise and it would give a big picture of where we spend our money.

Our expenses include (on an annual basis):

Housing Expenses: $24,500

  • Mortgage: $14,300
  • Property tax: $3,000
  • Maintenance/Furnishings/Upgrades: $3,600
  • Utilities: $3,600

Car Expenses: $6,280

  • Car payment: $0
  • Gasoline: $3,600
  • Maintenance: $2,400
  • Registration: $280

Home Essentials: $2,010

  • TV/Internet/Landline phone: $1,440
  • Cell phones: $570

Food and Booze: $7,800

  • Groceries: $6,000
  • Entertaining/Eating Out: $1,800

Insurance: $3,590

  • Home: $460
  • Automobile (for 2): $1,750
  • Life: $420
  • Disability insurance: $960

Spending: $3,600

  • Personal spending/shopping: $3,600

Other Expenses: $3,200

  • Charity: $2,000
  • Gifts: $1,200

Total Annual Expense: $50,980

Note that the above expenses are mostly recurring bills and do not include retirement contributions or one time items like a new TV for example. I can’t say that I’m surprised that my housing costs are high relative to other expenses, but it’s an eye opener to see that it’s almost 50% of my total annual outlay.

How do your expenses stack up? Are your housing costs also a large portion of your total annual outlay?

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FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
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13 years ago

Reading all this discussion about daycares I can only feel lucky living in Montreal where I pay $7 a day.

The car maintenance look a little bit high for me, but perhaps you have new car.

13 years ago

Boy, I have to say that I see the disadvantage to living in So. Cal. I really enjoyed looking at your list. I am inspired to make my own soon.

But our housing costs (mortgage, taxes, insurance only) are more than your entire annual expenses. Which is about 30% of our total income.

13 years ago


Sorry, not inflating the numbers. I am in Stittsville. The west end is flooded with dual income, young families. There are lots of home daycares, some good, I am sure, but the waiting lists for “institutional” daycares is very long and the high demand is setting the prices. I would say we are in the top quartile of costs as our daycare is a “low ratio” daycare with services above and beyond those I’d expect from the “budget” centers (… like weekly field trips to the library, park days, and organized concerts, etc).

We interviewed 8 home daycares with openings for a 12 month old and rates were $32 – $40 / day, but I found many of them lacking the types of tools needed to give my daughter the experience I was looking for. To top that off, I was unimpressed with the 2-3 wks paid vacation (not a problem with $, more that they would be dictating when my vacation would be) and the ever looming threat of an 8am cancellation due to illness.

Unfortunately with #2 on the way, I see some belt tightening occuring for the next couple of years.

13 years ago

You didn’t include taxes, which seems to be the biggest expense for me. Including CPP and EI, it accounts for about 65% of my total expense so far this year. And that does not even include sales and investment taxes. :(

13 years ago


Our 3 biggest expenses by far are the mortgage (aggressively paying that down), RRSP/RESP contributions and child support payments. In after tax terms, they total about $65k. Hopefully we’ll be able to find some money to take full advantage of the TFSA program.

Next year we might have to replace one vehicle – we’ve enjoyed over 6 years without car payments. That will be an unwelcome change – the car payments that is, not the newer car!

It was 2 years ago when we finally purchased the last bit of furniture for our house so we don’t expect any major household purchases for a long time.

I use Vbuzzer for a ‘landline’ phone. It is a VOIP service that gives me a 416 area code number to be able to dial and receive calls (our cell phone numbers changed too often and this makes it easier to have a constant number). It costs just over $5 per month and the quality is excellent (I did get a hardware device to help with the quality – it cost me $10.)

Since we go on vacation each year, that to us is also a recurring expense. I’d say that it runs anywhere from $2,500 to $6,000 per year.

Our gifts expenses are significantly higher. Two teenagers and parents that live far away (thus causing us to buy them airline tickets so they will come and visit us) probably mean we are closer to $3,000 per year.

Other than that we are pretty much in line with what you have.

13 years ago

“How do your expenses stack up? Are your housing costs also a large portion of your total annual outlay?”

In my case, its not. We rent a big house here in the Philippines (as we don’t expect to live here for life) and so its not a huge expense for us. We probably spend more money on grocery (foods) and 2nd only the monthly rent payment. However, I do expect too that our expense might also be biggest on mortgage once we start living on our own.

13 years ago

I took the time a few months ago to track all our spending. I found lots of cash being spent on items outside the categories you have listed. This month it’s the TV, next month the HD box, then winter tires, a weekend vacation getaway, etc. These items quickly add to your expenses, but are not accounted above.

I’m not suggesting keeping a tight budget record, as it takes a lot of time, just that there are a LOT of expenses we have which we do not record, and then forget about.

The real test is income – savings = expenses!


Dividend Growth Investor
13 years ago

So FT, can we expect a breakdown of your revenues as well so that we can do some comparison and tell you what to do with your life :-)

One cheaper alternative to daycare is if Ft’s parents are retired and decide to keep their legacy by taking care of the granddaughter/son. That’s what my parent’s did to me and I turned out ok..I think..

13 years ago

FT great post! It’s always good to compare. It’s kind of scary when one needs 50K after tax dollars to live comfortably. If someone is out of work for too long things can get ugly pretty quick. I found your car expenses really high. I came in at roughly half that. I’m also guessing you may be to low on the Home Furnishing total. Blinds\Shutters alone on a new home can come in or over 3K. I’m also assuming all the totals where on a household including your wife? Either way, pretty typical and close to what I have and I’m a similar demo (early 30’s, wife and now 2 kids, same profession.) Cutting and controlling the expense side of the equation obviously very important.